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Discussion Starter #1
Hi and thanks in advance. We are in the process of buying a boat with a rudder that has been snapped off. Does anybody have advice on replacing a rudder for a 1995 Hunter 45 Passage (please assume we're moving forward with the purchase :) ) We foresee the following options:
1. Replacement rudder from Hunter
2. Have a yard fabricate a replica (outside my skillset)
3. Try to find a rudder from a salvaged boat
4. Duct tape an oar to the tiller (Can't imagine this is to code)

We're torn on which option and would appreciate any advice, history, or suggestions. If option #3, any ideas who we can reach out to find one?

Cheers,
pras
 

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Pras, your best bet is a replacement from Hunter IF available. Having a yard fab something up will probably give you steering problems as rudder balance depends on exact dimensions, and that's a hard job to match up.

Buying a used rudder leaves you to ask how good it is, whether there is internal water damage or not. That can be determined--but simply finding a used rudder for any boat is a good trick. Add the expenses for non-destructive testing...and it might be faster and cheaper to buy a new one.

Which might easily be $5000 for a boat in that range.

Then of course, if the rudder was snapped off, you'll be having a professional survey of the rudder tube, to see how much damage there is (there WILL be damage) and what a proper repair or reinforcement for that will be.

Rudders can be an "OUCH!" subject.
 

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I hope you're getting a significant discount on the boat given the rudder's status.

As HS said, getting one from Hunter is probably your best bet. Having a surveyor take a very close look at the rudder tube and the surrounding area is a very good idea, since anything impact sufficient to snap a rudder off is going to have some effect as HS points out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the sage advice. We will be getting the survey done and are making sure the price is appropriate for the condition of the boat. (at least I think, but then again I've been wrong before and will most definitely be wrong again). Based on your advice we'll most likely go with the Hunter rudder.
 

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Needless to say...whatever at the rudder, may have also caused keel damage, so do ask your surveyor to poke around. In depth, no pun intended.

If it was impact damage, that tends to travel in odd ways in a boat. I've seen bulkhead tabbing break and shelves shift all over a 29' boat that was "lightly" t-boned in race. It is possible that the drive shaft, prop support, engine mounts, engine main bearings, all took impact damage. Most likely not--but still, you can get surprises. On a boat in that size range, it pays to ask the seller exactly what happened. They may very well have gotten a survey and decided to get rid of the boat instead of repairing it, because of things that are not readily seen.
 

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I would second what HS said... especially about the keel, since on most boats, the rudder is protected and has less draft than the keel.

I'd recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, and use the information there to take a look at the boat before hiring a surveyor. The information in that thread may be able to let you decide whether it is even worth going forward on getting a survey or whether you should walk away. :)
 

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If you do decide to buy the boat, I can highly recommend Foss Foam in Williston, FL. They have the exact dimensions and a great deal of experience with Hunter rudders. We recently used them and couldn't have been happier with their service. Their web site is newrudders.com.

Cheers!
 

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I must respectfully disagree with the suggestion of using Foss Foam. We did so in the Spring of 2003 with the rebuild of the rudder on our First 42 and this past January discovered major distortion of the rudder due to shrinkage of the foam that cost nearly two thousand dollars to correct. Foss declined any assistance with the matter claiming that it's warranty was only for one year. We subsequently learned the problem is commonplace with Foss Foam rudders.



A complete discussion of the problem can be found at Possible Rudder rebuild questions - Page 3 - Cruisers & Sailing Forums commencing with post #39.

FWIW...
 

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"Foss Foam in Williston, FL."
As I've said elsewhere, I'd rather blow up the boat. We had terrible problems with them doing semi-custom work. IF, and only if, they were the original stock supplier of a rudder...that might be different. (I'd still want a boat built with a different rudder!)
 

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They do warn you about painting the rudder a dark color then leaving it out in the sun, don't they?
 

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Foss foam has lots of people who have had issues with them...and lots who were happy with their work. However, I do believe they do warn against painting their rudders in dark colors, due to issues with the resin and foam and the higher temperatures that the dark colors heat up to.
 

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sd, we had problems with incorrect manufacturing (grossly wrong dimensions), terrible shipping delays (every deadline missed ultiple times) folks simply not answering the phone or returning calls...and the final product just not being balanced right.

Paint colors and sunlight never got to the top of the list. But speaking of which, how come all the boats in the boatyards have rudders painted "bottom paint blue" and they sit exposed to sunlight all winter, and somehow, after 20 years most of them are still good as new? Foss only uses Vampire Foam?

Personally, "does not answer the phone and does not return calls" tells me there is something terribly wrong at a business. That's a total stopper for me.
 

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I'm not saying that Foss Foam isn't a problematic vendor, but there are some people who have been happy with their work. Most rudders aren't made using the materials Foss Foam uses. And exposing an epoxy/foam rudder to sunlight all winter long generally doesn't cause the problem, because the sunlight isn't as intense and the ambient temperature is much lower....

A friend of mine has a custom epoxy/foam trimaran. There are footprints visible in the deck from when a friend of ours walked across the deck, when it was painted dark blue. The boat is white now... Apparently, the heat from the sun and the dark blue color were enough that the top layer of the fiberglass and Airex foam were able to distort under his weight.

sd, we had problems with incorrect manufacturing (grossly wrong dimensions), terrible shipping delays (every deadline missed ultiple times) folks simply not answering the phone or returning calls...and the final product just not being balanced right.

Paint colors and sunlight never got to the top of the list. But speaking of which, how come all the boats in the boatyards have rudders painted "bottom paint blue" and they sit exposed to sunlight all winter, and somehow, after 20 years most of them are still good as new? Foss only uses Vampire Foam?

Personally, "does not answer the phone and does not return calls" tells me there is something terribly wrong at a business. That's a total stopper for me.
 

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I'm not saying that Foss Foam isn't a problematic vendor, but there are some people who have been happy with their work
In the course of my costly experience, discussed at great length on two separate widely read sailing forums, not a single Foss customer voiced satisfaction with the Company, while dozens voiced the opposit; as did two separate respected marine surveyors, independent of one another. At best a few people indicated they hadn't had trouble "yet". Neither did I for four years. Then I did. And, save for the week or 10 days the yacht is out of the water for bottom paint every few winters, the rudder was always immersed.

Unless one has personally delt with the Company, and its products, one's opinion is rather unquallified, no?

I merely offer my experience for what it's worth as it was a costly lesson.

Pras might want to look into other builders, such as Phils Foils. Or not.
 
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